Church of Jesus Christ-Christian

By Christopher Zoukis

The next person to ride the British-Israelite wave was John Wilson.  In 1840, Wilson published his book Lectures on Our Israelitish Origin, which was well-received and went through four subsequent printings. 

John Taylor caught the wave in 1859, when he published The Great Pyramid, Why Was It Built and Who Built It?  Taylor maintained that the Israelites had built the Pyramid of Cheops.  His argument rested upon the fact that British feet and inches formed the basis of the pyramid’s construction. 

By 1871, the waves of British-Israelism were getting larger and coming more frequently.  For that was the year Edward Hine, who was a banker made a big splash with the publication of his book The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, which became a bestseller, selling 250,000 copies.  Later, in 1884, Hine boarded a ship bound for America, where he intended to spread the gospel of British-Israelism.  And he did.  While traveling around, Hine advanced the notion of Americans being the lost tribe of Manasseh.  A few years later, a man named Howard Rand, who hailed from Massachusetts, borrowed Hine’s gospel as his own.  Only Rand made one significant change.  He supplemented Hine’s gospel with the centuries-old disease called anti-semitism.  For Rand believed the Jews were responsible for the ills of the world.  Rand called his gospel “Christian Identity.”

The wave of British-Israelism crested in 1946.  That was the year that Wesley Swift started his own church in Lancaster, California.  Baptizing his church with the peculiar name of the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian, he rapidly established sister-churches in San Francisco, Oakland, Riverside, Hollywood and San Diego.   Image courtesy covenantpeoplesministry.org

Swift, the only child of a prominent Methodist preacher, was born in New Jersey in 1913.  God called him to preach while he was a teenager.  By the time he was 18 years old, Wesley was a licensed preacher in the Methodist Church. 

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